When bad games attack!

Bad video games are a fact of life. For every great game out there you’ll find dozens and dozens of turds in its wake. Some companies even seem to specialize in craptastic games. As a long time avid gamer there’s been more than one title I’ve come across that I ended up thinking to myself, “My grandmother could write a better game… and she’s dead!” How the hell do such stunningly terrible ideas ever get released? Didn’t the developers play their own game?!? Of course they did, but as one developer explains that’s not the only deciding factor:

I was out visiting friends in Chicago not too long ago and at some point the conversation made its way over to video games. Obviously they all know what I do for a living and since they are big gamers themselves, they are always interested to hear the inner workings of the industry. The problem is that they eventually make their way to telling me all about the awesome game they would make if “they” were the ones making the games. This is usually how it goes for most of my conversations with game fans and even interviews with new designers. Most people who are entering the industry that I’ve spoken to manage to get their conversations around to a very similar topic. That point is ‘how they would make the game that would change the world.’ Depending on my mood, I try not to ruin their dreams. However, sometimes they get a little snotty about it and I have to bitch-smack them with a sock full of reality and attempt to make them understand how the world actually works. (Sorry Matt)

It’s like these people think that all bad games are the result of the people who make them not knowing or caring about what they are doing. While this is surely the case in some instances, it isn’t always how it goes down. I’ve been involved with or have watched other games that were on a track to possibly be a good game, slowly get churned into a giant steaming piece of crap through no fault of the people directly working on it. Developers, for the most part, all want to make a great game and will work themselves to death to get it done. But sometimes no matter how hard you work, someone more powerful than you is going to come in and stick their d!^* in your peanut butter.

As it turns out, game making is a lot like movie making in that someone else often has the purse strings and will occasionally feel he needs to add his “improvements” to the mix which end up being anything but improvements. I think most gamers realize this on some level, but it’s easy to forget.

Link via Joystiq.

3 thoughts on “When bad games attack!

  1. stick their d!^* in your peanut butter.

    lol … i love that line.

    And yes you are correct about comparing it to movie making.  It’s the producers (read=people with the cash) that throw their power around and even make the director do things he may not want to do.  There have been a few cases of Directors walking out.  But not often, because of those pesky contracts they make everyone sign. 

    I worked on a film with an almost blind script continuity girl.  It showed in the end product.  I HATE HATE HATE seeing actors drinks change amounts.  And cigarettes change length.

  2. For instructions to screwing everything you better ask bosses of Sierra/Havas…
    Those a******s happened to cancel nearly ready Babylon 5 based game because it didn’t fit their definition of good game…
    But for some reason “Professional bull rider” didi fit to that definition!

  3. As prosaic aside – its the same in most any design. I currently plan parking buildings and mall parking layouts, and the number of times our clients have refused our advice or twisted it beyond measure is just amazing. Usually to save money, squeeze in a few more parking spaces or do other kinds of stuff that may seem reasonable if seen in isolation, they are willing to compromise the whole design. Its especially bad if you know a design has shortcomings and they then chip away at the remaining safety margins you tried to keep.

    I haven’t worked in the business long enough to actually see the projects built yet, but I fear some of them will just end up with the traffic planning equivalent of a bad movie – gridlock.

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